News24

Apple out to kill Macintosh virus

2012-04-11 11:37

San Francisco - Apple on Tuesday said it is crafting a weapon to vanquish a Flashback virus from Macintosh computers and working to disrupt the command network being used by hackers behind the infections.

In its first public admission that the malicious software is vexing machines powered by the California company's Macintosh software, Apple said it had patched the weakness exploited by the virus and was now out to kill it.

"Apple is developing software that will detect and remove the Flashback malware," the firm said in a message in a support blog on its website.

The malicious software does its dirty work with directions received from computer servers "hosted by malware authors" and Apple is collaborating with internet service providers to "disable this command and control network".

The virus took advantage of a weakness in Java programmes, according to Apple.

Computer security specialists last week warned that more than a half-million Macintosh computers may have been infected with a virus targeting Apple machines.

Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past "Mac" defences is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The infections, spotted "in the wild" by Finland-based computer security firm F-Secure and then quantified by Russian anti-virus program vendor Dr Web, came as hackers increasingly take aim at Apple computers.

"All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world," McAfee Labs director of threat intelligence Dave Marcus told AFP.

"Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware."

Dr Web determined that more than 600 000 Mac computers may be infected with Flashback, which is designed to let hackers steal potentially valuable information such as passwords or financial account numbers.

Hackers trick Mac users into downloading the virus by disguising it as an update to Adobe Flash video viewing software.

Comments
  • Thando - 2012-04-11 11:43

    I thought Apple machines didn't get malware ? ha ha ha all the turtlenecks must be panicking

      NrGx - 2012-04-11 13:37

      One malware virus compared to thousands of windows viruses. And will be "killed" soon. Hardly anything to panic about. I still choose apple over microsoft, anyday, anytime no question about it. To those who say its because no one is bothered to write the virus code for macs...not true, many, many have tried but the apple system coding is so complex, it is no easy task, which is why they have had to use java coding as a back door.

      NrGx - 2012-04-11 13:37

      One malware virus compared to thousands of windows viruses. And will be "killed" soon. Hardly anything to panic about. I still choose apple over microsoft, anyday, anytime no question about it. To those who say its because no one is bothered to write the virus code for macs...not true, many, many have tried but the apple system coding is so complex, it is no easy task, which is why they have had to use java coding as a back door.

      Thando - 2012-04-11 14:38

      You do realize that they are only acting after pressure from Dr Web ? They initially denied any problem - just as they denied antenna issues with the iPhone 4 or overheating with the iPad. Deny Deny Deny - Apple are like the ANC

      Thando - 2012-04-11 14:38

      You do realize that they are only acting after pressure from Dr Web ? They initially denied any problem - just as they denied antenna issues with the iPhone 4 or overheating with the iPad. Deny Deny Deny - Apple are like the ANC

      Darren - 2012-04-11 14:44

      come now…let's compare Apples with Apples

      Darren - 2012-04-11 14:44

      come now…let's compare Apples with Apples

      altusvanzyl - 2012-04-11 16:19

      Hahaha well said Thando :)

      altusvanzyl - 2012-04-11 16:19

      Hahaha well said Thando :)

  • robert.cerff - 2012-04-11 11:54

    Natural transition... as a platform becomes more popular it'll be more likely to be attacked. Does this only surprise Apple?

  • flysouth - 2012-04-11 12:12

    The only reason why Apple could make the claim that their machines were 'virus and malware-proof" was that the designers of such malware did not bother to write code for Apples since there were few around. Seems that there are enough Apples around now to start crafting malware for these machines and we will probably see great growth in such malware for Apple machines!

  • Skia - 2012-04-11 16:01

    only now starting to fix a 3 month old venerability? that is the pathetic part

      Skia - 2012-04-11 16:23

      or vulnerability even

      Skia - 2012-04-11 16:23

      or vulnerability even

  • Clint Botha - 2012-04-12 08:27

    I would take a Mac with a million viruses over anything put out by Microsoft. The very few viruses on Mac are only one of many many reasons that I got rid of my windows computers. No thanks, never gain.

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